RECENT events reveal both the good and unacceptable faces of ‘patriotism’.

At the Paralympics we can cheer Scottish athletes, including those from East Lothian, but should also applaud England footballers taking the knee against racism while their ethnically diverse team is disgracefully booed by fascists.

‘Patriotism’ that supports racism has no place in the better Scotland we want to build: East Lothian Horizons and others reaching out to Afghan, Syrian or Eritrean refugees represents, by contrast, the finest expression of common humanity.

During Holyrood’s debate on asylum seekers and refugees, a Tory MSP accused the First Minister of “anti-English” sentiments. Nicola Sturgeon rightly rejected the slur, demanding – and getting – an unambiguous retraction and apology for such ill-considered remarks.

However, some here in East Lothian may have concerns that Scottish independence would stop people ‘feeling British’. The pandemic has seen widespread references to the UK’s ‘four nations’: whenever Scotland achieves full self-determination through independence, ‘the four nations’ will remain intact, as will collaboration and friendship between them.

Future negotiations might draw on the Good Friday Agreement’s hard-won clause, allowing the people of Northern Ireland to choose to be British or Irish – or both. In 2015, Nicola Sturgeon told The Guardian newspaper that she watched EastEnders and Coronation Street, as well as River City, making clear she wasn’t ‘against’ a country but opposed governments we didn’t elect, wanting instead a fairer ‘partnership of equals’, working better for all parties.

Rhetoric in parliament, either that in Holyrood or Westminster, is reflective of us all who are parliamentarians. For instance, Westminster’s SNP leader Ian Blackford being told to “get back to Skye” – the tone of this doesn’t serve the Parliament well at all.

Gaining independence is not an event but a process of addressing that history with persistence, courtesy and mutual respect. That’s the route to a constructive debate about a better Scotland.